Thursday, July 06, 2006

Baron's Jigsaw Puzzle

Baron Bodissey at Gates of Vienna has an essay attempting to fit together all the publicly observable pieces of the Islamist phenomenon. What distinguishes Baron's building blocks is that they are not constructed from pre-existing diplomatic or ideological paradigms, but made up the way an ordinary person might from first principles. To the question where do all the mujahedeen who attack the West come from, Baron answers in two ways: this is the paymaster and these are the henchmen. First, who is the paymaster?


To start with, there’s the explosion of Salafist funding. Thanks to the price of oil and the nefariously corrupt regime in Saudi Arabia, the Great Islamic Jihad devours a surfeit of resources the likes of which have not been seen for five hundred years or more. It’s no longer necessary to breach the walls of Constantinople and loot the cathedral, or send pirates out on a razzia to plunder wealthy merchant vessels: all the Saudis have to do is hire infidels to drill for the black goo and then sell it to other infidels. The proceeds from this lucrative racket have been plowed back into Sunni jihad activities across the globe, always disguised as “charity”.

So this is what pays for operations, but whence the cannon fodder to carry them out? All these disparate and disconnected people, training to carry out violence and willing to die in the process — where do they come from?

Now, who are the henchmen?

The Great Jihad goes trolling for potential shahids among convicted felons, particularly in the prisons of the United States, Canada, Britain, and Australia. The enlightened rehabilitative regimes in these countries install Islamic chaplains for their inmates. These religious functionaries are selected and funded by Saudi missionary organizations. Not to be outdone by the Sunnis, Sheikh Gilani’s Jamaat ul-Fuqra has an extensive prison-recruitment operation. ...

But what about the non-cynical converts, the ones who really are willing to die for the cause? What about the true zealots like John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban”? Where do they come from? I had a friend in my college days who was attracted to radical politics. “Power to the People”, “Smash the State”, “Revolution Now” — it was always about sticking it to the Man, questioning authority, and resisting all instances of state power. Nowadays he’s studying the Koran and talking about the power of the Jews, and is seriously considering converting to Islam. ...

In the terms of Chaos Theory, Islam is a “basin attractor”, an asymptotic solution to all the differential equations of nihilistic human behavior. Any impulse that longs to destroy Western Civilization — which, for the modern world, means all civilization — will gravitate towards Islam. The criminal gets ideological justification for his behavior, the sadist gets to rape and murder to his heart’s content, and the hippie radical gets to stick it to the Man for all eternity.

In short, Baron argues that the paymaster is state church funded by oil revenues located in an "allied country". The henchmen are the alienated, even among themselves. Baron's last interrogative is this: "These are the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle called “The 21st Century”, scattered on the table and the floor around you. How might they appear when they’re finally assembled?" To which an honest answer might be, 'like nothing either the Democrats or the Republicans have described; like nothing taught in our most prestigious universities; like nothing likely to be discussed in a serious think-tank".

And that's because it's constructed of pieces that are too fundamental for public intellectuals to manipulate. They already have their notation. They've already have the objects with which they intend to solve the problem. These are multilateral diplomacy, Palestine, Israel, multiculturalism, weapons of mass destruction, sanctions, deterrence, to name a few. The stock-in-trade of men of the world. And from these they are going to construct tower after tower, buttress after buttress and approximate arcs by arbitarily large numbers of square pieces until ... And when these fall to the ground in piles the postmortem will always be what diplomatic misstep did we make? What nuance did we miss? What concession did we fail to give? What country did we fail to invade? And they will start over and over again.

That's not to say that Baron's analysis comprehensively describes the entire Islamist phenomenon or that statesmen have no valid insights; but his analysis goes to the human heart of the matter. Religion, nihilism, culture, crime. All subjects on which Islam has an opinion but of whose existence our public intellectuals have repeatedly expressed doubt. We have stopped thinking ourselves and our beliefs without embarrassment and shame. And for all our diplomacy and weaponry will never be ready to face those willing to die without seeing ourselves portrayed once again in human-sized building blocks; able once more to think in terms of enemies and friends and to set against the darkness, a flame.

22 Comments:

Blogger Buffy said...

Ideological nihilism is a good description for the islamists and their new leftist allies both. If you can't beat 'em, annhilate 'em, and yourself too in the process.

Westerners with their preoccupation with defeating all disease, prolonging lifespan, defeating world hunger and poverty, giving everybody opportunity to be fulfilled and happy....that's just the antithesis of ideological nihilism.

7/06/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Will Rayford said...

The supply of criminals in the ideologically weak Western nation states is endless. Our own western brand of nihilism is mostly maliable and can be made to fit the hardend spokes of the islamic killing machine. They demand, we supply. Our demand for their oil is also endless and will fund them well into the 21st Century. We demand, they supply. Not good, no, not good.

7/06/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Wretchard, I thank you kindly for the link, and the excellent analysis.

I think it will become more and more obvious that Islam is indeed a "basin attractor" for nihilistic ideologies and people; they will be sucked into it one by one.

It's like one of those charity money-drops, where children put coins in a slot and watch them spin around and around as they spiral down to the bin underneath. The coins come in from locations on every side, but they all wind up in the same place.

It is, in thermodynamic terms, the "heat sink" of modern times.

7/06/2006 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

There is no "we". With luck, one will stand forth-- bereft of academic credentials, but deeply read like Truman, or like Reagan profoundly true to the American ideal. "We win, they lose"... and remember always, the U.S. deals from strength. Strength of character, strength of purpose, above all strength in altruism, that will not rest until the last Kim Jong-il is strangled with the entrails of the last Caliph. Where Voltaire walks with Thomas Jefferson, "the mightiest dictator trembles on his pedestal" (Churchill).

We think today's looming demographic crisis will wash away not only the fetid Youth Cult beloved of Howard Dean, but the perfervid Leftist hatemongers so enamored of every tinpot satrap extant these last forty years. From Uncle Ho to Mao, Pol Pot, Castro and the Sandinistas, now the egregious monomaniacs infesting Teheran and Pyong-yang, a certain Affective Character Disorder
(ACD) celebrates mass murder by collective Statists while damning every effort by free citizens in their own defense.

These comments are become cliches. But when Andrew Jackson II asserts himself in 2032, we do believe many a Clinton, Dean, and Kerry will find themselves gargling their last expletives. The Class of 1968 reached its inverted prime in 2004; the Boomer Generation slinks away, utterly selfish and unmourned. These guttersnipes ate their seed corn. Now what?

7/06/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The human mind tends to see patterns in random data, and I think this may be one of the cases. A Christian, Tim McVeigh, blew up the federal building in Oklahoma and it is likely that someone from inside the US military industrial complex was responsible for the anthrax attacks.

7/06/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Speaking of Islamic bombers, it's been a year since the London Subway bombings. One of the suicide bombers recorded a tape before that attack warning of more to come, and now someone has released it to al-Jazeera.

I see this as being a sign of weakness of the terrorists, not strength. A year has gone by and they haven't been able to pull off another attack, as the tape says they would try to do. Al Qaeda seems to mostly fight their wars by video now. If we all turned out TV sets off, we would be invulnerable.

7/06/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Wu wei --

Notice that I don't include Oklahoma City or the anthrax; I only used the well-established Islamically-linked incidents.

Some paranoids believe that the "third conspirator" in the Murrah Building bombing was an Al Qaeda operative (or an agent of the Iraqi Mukhabarat; take your pick). But I've seen no convincing evidence of that.

7/06/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

This is interesting, From a flash ad on Drudge Report, playing in theatres in Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C., documentary covering:
Main Idea
Virtually every major Western leader has over the past several years expressed the view that Islam is a peaceful religion and that those who commit violence in its name are fanatics who misinterpret its tenets. This claim, while widely circulated, rarely attracts serious public examination. Relying primarily on Islam’s own sources, this documentary demonstrates that Islam is a violent, expansionary ideology that seeks the destruction or subjugation of other faiths, cultures, and systems of government.

Content
The documentary consists of original interviews, citations from Islamic texts, Islamic artwork, computer-animated maps, footage of Western leaders, and Islamic television broadcasts. Its tone is sober, methodical, and compelling.

Outline of the Documentary
Introduction
We hear from prominent Western leaders that Islam is peaceful and that those who commit violence in its name are heterodox fanatics.

Part 1: ‘There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet’
Our interviewees affirm their belief that Islamic violence is entirely orthodox behavior for Muslims and stems directly from the teachings and example of the Prophet Muhammad and the commands of the Koran. We learn that the example of Muhammad is one of a violent warlord who killed numerous people. The Koran – the verbatim words of Allah – prescribes violence against non-Muslims and Muhammad is the perfect example of the Koran in action.

Part 2: The Struggle
We learn that jihad, while literally meaning 'struggle', in fact denotes war fought against non-Muslims in order to bring the rule of Islamic law to the world. Violent death in jihad is, according to the Koran, the only assurance of salvation. One of our interviewees tells of his personal involvement in terrorism and his leaving Islam.

Part 3: Expansion
Following the death of Muhammad, his 'rightly-guided' successors carried his wars to three continents, fighting, enslaving, and massacring countless Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and others. Islam did not spread through evangelism or through its natural appeal, but through aggressive wars of conquest. The Crusades were largely a belated response on the part of Christian Europe to rescue Christians in the Holy Land suffering under Muslim oppression. The Muslim world today, while no longer the unified empire of the Caliphs, is exceptional for being responsible for the vast majority of conflicts around the world and for almost all of international terrorism.

Part 4: ‘War is Deceit’
A great problem with Western efforts to understand Islam is due to the Islamic principle of 'religious deception', which enjoins Muslims to deceive non-Muslims in order to advance the cause of Islam. Muslim groups today in the West employ deception and omission to give the impression that 'Islam is a religion of peace', an utter fiction.

Part 5: More than a Religion
The most important characteristic of Islam not understood by the West is that it is more a system of government than a personal religion. Throughout its history, Islam has never recognized a distinction between the religious and the secular/political. Islamic law governs every aspect of religious, political, and personal action, which amounts to a form of totalitarianism that is divinely enjoined to dominate the world, analogous in many ways to Communism.

Part 6: The House of War
Islamic theology divides the world into two spheres locked in perpetual combat, dar al-Islam (House of Islam - where Islamic law predominates), and dar al-harb (House of War - the rest of the world). It is incumbent on dar al-Islam to fight and conquer dar al-harb and permanently assimilate it. Muslims in Western nations are called to subvert the secular regimes in which they now live in accordance with Allah's command. Due to political correctness and general government and media irresponsibility, the danger posed by observant Muslims in the West remains largely unappreciated.

7/06/2006 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Grey said...

Only the locals can watch the crazy locals and inform on them. In Iraq or anywhere.

Saudi Arabia must allow free speech and free religion, or else not receive national sovereignty protection.

The US must convince India or Japan to join in action, for legitimacy.

7/06/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger snowonpine said...

I see someone brought up the almost, it seems, forgotten anthrax attacks. I've always thought that the FBI, apparently much less skilled than TV shows show them to be, prematurely settled on their suspect, Dr. Hatfil, early in the game and just ignored any evidence that pointed in other directions.

In particular, they ignored the fact the the hijackers had connections with/stayed in the cities the anthrax letters were mailed from. Of even more interest, one would have thought, was the report that one of the hijackers, feverish and complaining about black lesions on his body, came into an emergency room a few days prior to 9/11.

After the anthrax attacks, the ER Doctor who treated this hijacker was quoted as saying that, while he couldn't identify the black lesions at the time he examined them, he now believed they could have been caused by anthrax.

Why is it so hard to believe that the hijackers, who were going to die anyway, wouldn't risk exposure to anthrax if it allowed them to prepare and mail the antrax letters as a follow-on attack?

7/06/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger rocketsbrain said...

RBT has had similar thoughts for a number of years. See this thread in RBT's 4th of July message.

Also RBT has said the GWOT is all about oil but not in the usual sense. Further the Islamofascist movement is being used to wage a proxy war against the US by the Russians and the Chinese via the NORKS.

Shades of FOX's 24 and Jack Bauer.

See:

GEO-POLITICAL STRATEGIC ANALYSIS ON WAR ON TERROR


[...]

Again we will not win the War On Terror while there is a continuing supply of recruits to replace those we eliminate. We can’t fight a war of attrition unless we use overwhelming force to knock out the enemy all at once. This is a war of ideals and we must change our strategy accordingly. We must shut down the terrorist production factories. These are the fundamental schools the Saudis and others have tolerated to remain in power. In the Saudis’ case this is now coming back to haunt them. These schools, program children at a very early age to hate our culture and to adopt without question the ideology of radical Islamic extremism.

Why are many of the transnational terrorists who reside in the “swamp” not the stereotypical downtrodden refugees as often portrayed in the media? Who are these terrorists who ally with one another when convenient to attack the Great Satan and Zionists who of course are the root of all evil and wrongs Islam has suffered since the fall of the Islamic Empire? Many have studied at our best schools and have become doctors, engineers, computer programmers, and other highly trained professionals who have experienced the best the west has to offer. Why are we seen as such a threat? They have been programmed by these schools into the cult of radical Islamic extremism whose bounds are very powerful and culturally unifying. Researchers have found self-esteem, sense of self, and other important factors in the formation of human personality are largely established by the time of eight years. If this is true if we turned off the tap today, we still have another generation before the well runs dry. Yes, this is a war of culture and ideology.


[...]

7/06/2006 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Why is it so hard to believe that the hijackers, who were going to die anyway, wouldn't risk exposure to anthrax?

Of course they would have taken the risk. But the point is that was military grade anthrax, the best on the planet. It's unlikely Al Qaeda would have been able to get ahold of that. Even if they did, they would have used it in a more lethal fashion, and kept using it instead of stopping. Al Qaeda hasn't used WMD at all, in fact some of their captured people said they didn't start thinking about it until we said how terrible it would be.

I'm not claiming this is proof, because there won't be any until they catch whoever did it. However, until then it seems very unlikely that Al Qaeda got ahold of some of the best anthrax on the planet five years ago, but hasn't managed even a primitive WMD attack since then.

7/06/2006 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger oseaghdha said...

OKC and the anthax incident were, much like the Atlanta Olympic bombing, Unibomber, and the SOG train derailment, likey random noise. Failing hard evidence, just more fodder for conspiracy theorists. The attacks perpetrated by the Moongod followers are generally well publicized and lack little in the way of speculation regarding attribution. Certainly, there are rogue elements at large comprised of disaffected anarchists and malcontents, types of which would indeed be attracted to the romance of the struggle. The problem I see is the inability of politicians to cross the PC line and put a name to it. Won't happen until it's to a point where the will to survive takes over and all hell breaks loose.

7/06/2006 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger oseaghdha said...

lack little
require little

7/06/2006 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

his analysis goes to the human heart of the matter. Religion, nihilism, culture, crime.

Only I read it as "the Saud regime in Arabia is paying nihilistic criminals to kill us."

What country did we fail to invade?

Saudi Arabia

7/06/2006 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger snowonpine said...

Wu Wei--As for the impossibility of getting weapons grade anthrax, according to several news accounts from a few years ago there are four old abandoned and basically unguarded BW manufacturing complexes in Kazakhstan and at at least one of them, I believe it was the complex on an island in the Aral Sea, it was possible to dig a few inches under to soil and still find viable weapons grade anthrax spores. When this story broke the U.S. was concerned enough to start talking of providing money to set up security around these areas under Nunn-Lugar.

7/06/2006 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Db2m said...

Wretchard, "And for all our diplomacy and weaponry will never be ready to face those willing to die without seeing ourselves portrayed once again in human-sized building blocks; able once more to think in terms of enemies and friends and to set against the darkness, a flame."

I followed your thinking right up to the very last sentence [above], but then got lost, I think, in the syntax, or the symbolism, or the antecedents, or combination thereof. Could you take another whack at that closer, again? Thanks!

7/06/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger rocketsbrain said...

Re: The Anthrax Issue

There is no doubt that Saddam and crew as well as AQ and others have been messing around with anthrax. BTW anthrax doesn't make a very good bio-weap. Smallpox would work much better if suicidal delivery agents were deployed along our souther border. No reason to be high tech. The English did it to the French in the French-Indian Wars.

It's also quite likely the 9/11 folks were also messing around with anthrax. There is a doctor who treated one of them in Florida for a skin infection. They may have been involved with some of the anthrax incidents after 9/11. They do like multiple strikes.

Now the $64K question is there more here than meets the eye? This definitely goes into the twilight zone. This would make a good Clancy spy novel or Grisham novel like the Pelican Brief.

Read Vaccine A by Gary Matsumoto. There is a whole DOD/USAMRID/PHARMA industry conspiracy theory here.

Read with several grains of salt.

The anthrax that went to the Hill (DC) was weapons grade and not of garage lab origin. There are only a few sources of this weapons grade stuff.

In particular US Labs with black ops contracts to make it. This would be a violation of US treaty obligations. Some of these labs also have ties to making the anthrax vaccine.

Any wonder why the FBI ran dry. Do you suppose they ran up against national security roadblocks? The last I heard they were pursuing the mad scientist theory that has gone off the radar.

The DC anthrax may have be intended to create panic and demand for the vaccine.

The deeper conspiracy here is that the anthrax vaccine was a test vehicle for vaccine adjuvants (boosters). There is a very delicate balance here: too little - no boost; too much - an auto immune response that causes a whole cluster of bad side effects e.g. Gulf War Syndrome

The premiss of Matzumoto's book is that the DOD/USAMRID was using the cover of the anthrax vaccine to do dosage ranging studies on a "test" population of subjects who couldn't sue. If they refused the vaccine they could be criminally prosecuted.

Now some have said the USAMRID reseraches pushing the mandatory vaccination of svs personnel have close ties to the vaccine manufactures with interesting product patent conflicts of interests. This also includes the NIH that should have been the watchdog on these trials.

The goal of this operation is to find a vaccine for AIDS that would be very financial rewarding for all involved

Now how is this for a fictional spy/detective thriller!

If you're interested in going down this rabbit hole in Alice In Wonderland. you can read more here and also read other posts in this forum.

7/06/2006 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Karensky said...

Baron and Wretchard, yes this is occuring around the Muslim world. Even in the American and western prisons systems. On the other hand as the boomers nadir waxes into snarling old age the follow on generations and their progeny will come online. Not for nothing the Shehans of this world are getting older and older along with the fact that they are old. Sure in the short run the Jihadis are on an upturn, big success going on right now in Somalia, but the west is also on the upturn with Aus., Poland, Bulgaria, the burgeoning alliance with India. With the classic over reach of the ill educated "mullahs and imams" throughout the west and muslim lands the trends look encouraging.

As the third, and fourth worlds intelligencia send their kids to the west for education we will perhaps see a dimmunitition of blind faith to minimally education men of God. Trends of increased assertivness in the Academy of Conservative (in this context rational thought) conjoined to a pulling of the curtain of the academic nihilists of the "progressive" scholars in my mind we are seeing a sea change across the westernizing world. It looks to be a good world in 20's and 30's. Unfortunately, a cataclysmic event will occur somewhere in the world as a result of the RoP, then again, through their very actions they will point the way for a saner world.

7/07/2006 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

If anyone is interested in a scholarly study that puts to rest the "Islam is a religion of peace" mantra, I suggest the book "Islamic Imperialism: A History" by Efraim Karsh, prefesor and head of the Mediteranean Studies Programme, King's College, University of London.

From the Book Description on Amazon.com:

Rejecting the conventional Western interpretation of Middle Eastern history as an offshoot of global power politics, Karsh contends that the region’s experience is the culmination of long-existing indigenous trends, passions, and patterns of behavior, and that foremost among these is Islam’s millenarian imperial tradition.
The author explores the history of Islam’s imperialism and the persistence of the Ottoman imperialist dream that outlasted World War I to haunt Islamic and Middle Eastern politics to the present day. September 11 can be seen as simply the latest expression of this dream, and such attacks have little to do with U.S. international behavior or policy in the Middle East, says Karsh.

7/07/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger rocketsbrain said...

Kevin,

You make a good point. Flopping Aces. also has an excellent piece that the GWOT has been going on for a long time.

It's just from our frame of reference and short attention span, we fail to realize it.

RBT

7/07/2006 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger José Joseph said...

Wu Wei

I don't think Tim McVeigh was a Christian as you suggest. He was affiliated with "Christian Identity" a Jew-hating neo-nazi movement.

This is a long, long way from being Christian.

7/08/2006 12:05:00 AM  

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